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NOOO! I grew up riding here in the 60's, had 5 horses there, over the years

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  • #41
    I rode at Woodlawn from '91-'00. I have no idea how many young riders they must have gotten going. I began riding my cousin's horse there, then started into lessons when I was ready to jump more than crossrails. I won my first ribbons at their barn shows, and still have them tucked in a box. I'd hate to see it go


    • #42
      I grew up in Fairfax County and actually field boarded my first horse on a working cattle farm in between Annandale and Bailey's Cross Roads! (This was in the 50s and early 60s when there were horse shows and "Birney's Pony Ring" at Bailey's Cross Roads.) I never rode at Woodlawn, but am sorry to hear that it is in jeopardy. The last time I visited No Va I hardly recognized it.
      Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


      • #43
        Kind of bumping this thread. Saw on Facebook from a friend that Joan Mitchel (ran the barn with her daughter) passed away this past weekend. I road and worked off lessons at Woodlawn for years.

        I just went up to DC to see my Dad and attend my highschool reunion. We drove by the property and saw the horses in the big pasture. It made me wonder what horses were still there. I remember; Mirage, Pacey, Joker, Spicey, Hap with the one eye and many more. I had no idea they're trying to run a road through the property!

        I hope it doesn't happen. There's not enough places to board and ride in Northern Virginia. Traffic is so nasty that even a place 30 miles away can take over an hour to get to. The congestion is always going to be bad. The alternative proposal is to widen the road without cutting the property in half.

        I'm so glad I don't live in NOVA anymore. I might get nostalgic from time to time, but my yearly or bi-yearly visits to see my Dad remind me how awful the congestion is. Not to mention the cost of living.


        • #44
          Well, unless someone is willing to cough up millions of dollars (We're talking lottery-scale winnings here) to buy up the land, it's likely going to get demolished. If someone did get the land the stable occupies, it would basically derail the entire development project as the stable sits where things are going to be built alongside the road.
          Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


          • #45
            Originally posted by findeight View Post
            Maybe your Woodlawn is operated by those who want out? Maybe they are getting taxed to death and feel it's time??? I think it is worth noting that the proposal here was made in a PRIVATE session and all but approved????

            Are the property owners actively fighting this???
            From the Clifton Horse Society:

            Woodlawn Stables, as we currently know it, is a locally female-owned and operated family business that has been servicing horse enthusiasts for 33 years. The 56-stall barn is the largest equestrian facility in the area and is one of the only area stables that provides both public lessons and boarding services. Woodlawn Stables and the historic property on which it is located have a long and proud equestrian heritage and relationship with the community. Woodlawn Stables is located on a 56-acre portion of the Woodlawn Plantation Historic District in Alexandria, Virginia. The Stables leases the 56-acre horse farm from the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one portion of the Woodlawn Mansion and its 127 acres of historic property. These storied grounds have been used as a farm for over a century, and have provided equestrian activities and events enjoyed by the public for over 61 years. The property is also home to a vast array of wildlife - deer, fox, wild turkeys, bald eagles, bluebirds, ground hogs, turtles. Many other animals are spotted at the stables on any given day.[/FONT]
            [FONT=Arial]Woodlawn is currently home to about 50 horses; some are privately owned and can be relocated by their individual owners, but many of the senior horses would face an uncertain future. These horses are not "desirable" to those who don't know them - a little faded, a little slower, but fiercely loved by the Stables. These are the horses that have worked in the school for years, or even decades. At Woodlawn Stables, horses that have earned the title of "school horse" are rewarded with a lifelong spot in the herd, guaranteeing them a life of quality care. Once retired due to age or injury these horses are not sold or traded for younger horses, but live out their days on the grass with the horses and people they know. If the barn is destroyed there are many horses that, after giving a life of service to the community, will have nowhere to go. These would not be easy animals to re-home - horses are expensive to care for and not many are willing to give the money and resources to a horse that cannot be ridden. Woodlawn Stables is, of course, a business, but they have also made it their business to give their horses a life of love and care - even when they are no longer beneficial to their bottom line. That is the nature of Woodlawn Stables.[/FONT]
            The farm has been around far longer than just the tenure of the current operators. It was there when I was a kid, I remember when the pasture alongside Rt 1 hosted polo matches.
            "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."


            • #46
              Today's post:

              Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.


              • #47
                Originally posted by charismaryllis View Post
                Sorry if this sounds callous but I'd rather have a cemetery moved which caters to those that are no longer living then a business that is run and patronized by the living. I don't know if the cemetery is a historic one but I don't think preserving a cemetery should take precedence over preserving a riding stable of historic significance when there are very few other places for this stable to be in Fairfax county.


                • #48
                  Agreed about the cemetery, though most everything surrounding death (funeral, gravesites) isn't for the dead, it's for the benefit(???) of the living. Those people buried there are long passed, we should be preserving the facilities of the barn for the people who are still able to benefit.

                  And I knew hap when he had two eyes... what happened to his eye??

                  Very sad to learn of Ms Mitchell's death. She was a formidable woman, my first encounter of a Horse Woman. Strong, independent, capable. Truthfully, i was scared of her at first! But soon enough I learned how kind and caring she was as well.


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by bits619 View Post
                    Agreed about the cemetery, though most everything surrounding death (funeral, gravesites) isn't for the dead, it's for the benefit(???) of the living. Those people buried there are long passed, we should be preserving the facilities of the barn for the people who are still able to benefit.

                    And I knew hap when he had two eyes... what happened to his eye??

                    Very sad to learn of Ms Mitchell's death. She was a formidable woman, my first encounter of a Horse Woman. Strong, independent, capable. Truthfully, i was scared of her at first! But soon enough I learned how kind and caring she was as well.
                    You're right. Cemeteries are for the living, but I meant that they are "home" to the dead, while the horse property is home to living hores and being used more actively.

                    I may be remembering the wrong horse but I'm pretty sure it was Hap that lost an eye. Maybe it was Spicey? It's been so long it's hard to be sure. One of the ponies damaged his eye in a pasture accident and had to have it remove and the eyelids sewn shut. The pony (whichever it was) was fine otherwise.


                    • #50
                      This weekend I read an article about Woodlawn in The Washington Post, I think. At any rate, it is very sad to see yet another barn with a public lesson program get forced out.

                      The big problem is that Woodlawn Stables does not own the land they are on. Correct me if I am stating it wrong, but the owner is Woodlawn Plantation and their first priority is to preserve the plantation. The stables are not their priority.

                      In fairness to the powers that be, there seems to be some discussion of building an underpass for the stables to access the fields. I am not sure how practical this is, but at least there is some attempt at accomodation.
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                      • #51
                        From reading the Trust's study linked earlier, it appears that all their recommendations for long term planning include re-absorbing the stable property for a 'sustainable agricultural center'. I'd say its a given that having the bypass put the stables out of business would play very well into their own interests.

                        Its a sad truth that most suburbanites just really do have a deep rooted antipithy towards having horses/stables in their neighborhood.
                        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                        Witherun Farm


                        • #52
                          Showhorse, I think it was Spicey, actually, now that you mention his name!

                          I always thought Woodlawn had the most fun horse names :-) I'll admit some are on my list of potential foster dog names!

                          really hoping something good happens for Woodlawn and the horses that live there.


                          • #53
                            It's all but official now. Woodlawn will be closing. The Trust will not extend their lease and will be formally asking them to vacate the property as things move forward with the development and road expansion.
                            Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                            • #54
                              I hope those of you who use to ride, board, etc are writing letters or making calls. Good gosh, who cares if DOT always wins...of course they do since there is so much apathy these days.

                              I think I may call/write, and I don't live near there, been there, etc.

                              the op made a good post, and its something for the developers to think about.

                              I am fighting city hall too. Its due to a seizure of my property for their use without my permission. Had to hire a lawyer, review the deeds to determine the language of a ROW.
                              I am fighting them, thats for sure.
                              save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                              • #55
                                Looks like Woodlawn - or to be more accurate those locals who use it/benefit from it - might get a reprieve as the alternative road and development plan that keeps a functional facility there is gaining traction and has support from the local government. It doesn't mean anything at this point but it's some hope nonetheless.
                                Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                • #56
                                  It's been made official. Woodlawn Stables is dead as of last week. The entire Woodlawn area - not including the plantation itself - will be razed and built into a restaurant supplied by a farm using the Woodlawn Plantation land already set aside for Arcadia's vegetables. The stables will be closed down before construction begins but no firm date has been set for that. There have been no plans made for continuing the Woodlawn Stables business but from what I'm reading there seems to be some division between those who love Woodlawn and want to carry on the legacy of the stables elsewhere in the area and the woman who has been running it as far as what the future of the business and program is going to be.
                                  Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                  • #57
                                    There's going to be a fundraising event to raise money to cover the expenses of caring for the horses due to the loss of business from the Winter and the axing of the stables. Here's the details....

                                    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Lex, thanks for resurrecting this thread; re-reading it made me misty (and Po'ed.)

                                      Que sera, sera, I guess...

                                      I am definitely going to try to go to this fundraiser, DH and I go down every weekend to visit my elderly parents--and pass right by the stables--so it is on my mind. I hope the older school horses find a soft place to land.

                                      If my father is up to it, we can take him along; he helped build a stall for one of my mares in the main barn in around 1973 (they were re-building it at the time, so we were encouraged to supply our own lumber and do the work; I remember he used creosote on the stall boards--back then we didn't realize that it was a carcinogen!) It will be a trip down memory lane to walk through the barns. SO many memories for us! My parents used to take occasional lesson on the school horses there, back in the late 60's--at that time it was a busy Polo Club. Captain Stu Updike was a well-known fixture then!, and some of the Pony Clubbers wound up mounted on former polo ponies, they were always "forward thinking" beasts, but getting them used to going in a snaffle (and growing out the roached manes) were the first priorities...

                                      I'm sure it's all changed, though from the road it looks largely the same. The last time I was there was around 1977!, but I still dream about the place from time to time.
                                      Last edited by Dr. Doolittle; Mar. 21, 2014, 11:48 AM.
                                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


                                      • #59
                                        There's also a PayPal account set up for donations by Cindy if you or anyone else wants to give at any time.
                                        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                        • #60
                                          The woman behind Woodlawn is starting up a new barn in Warrenton if any of you want to help Cindy out.
                                          Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!